Saturday, March 1, 2014

Early Spring Stroll on the Seaboard Grade at Babcock-Webb WMA

Spring comes early here in SW Florida.  It's the last week in February and I'm seeing wildflowers and butterflies!  So, off to one of my favorites places...the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area in Punta Gorda....80,000 acres of hydric pine flatwoods with some wonderful trails for a nice afternoon stroll.

The dirt roads through "the Webb" are called grades, which means they are raised up a bit and have drainage ditches on both sides to keep them from flooding during the rainy season.  I chose the Seaboard Grade as it has some terrific landscape views and goes through wet prairie, oak hammock and pine flatwoods.
Administered by Florida's Fish and Wildlife Commission, "the Webb" is a multi-use area allowing hunting in season, off road vehicles, camping, fishing, hiking, birding and has the area's only public shooting range.

It's an easy and very quiet walk on the sandy soil covered in pine needles.  I'll alternate some photos....landscape, nature close-up so you can enjoy the walk with me.

Zebra Longwing (Heliconius charithonia), Florida's State Butterfly.

Zebra Longwing link

White Peacock (Anartia jatrophae), a truly tropical species.

Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare), and early bloomer.  I can usually find some nice swallowtails nearby these colorful blossoms.

Bull Thistle link

Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus)....mimics the Monarch. Not toxic, but seems to fool bird predators.

Queen link

Blue Porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaisensis).

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbekia hisrta)....common on road edges most everywhere and always appreciated.

Black Eyed Susan link

Gator hole....we've had a wet winter, so still plenty of water.

Palamedes Swallowtail  (Papilio palamedes).

Palamedes Swallowtail link

Swamp buggy out for a ride.  Folks come from all over Florida to camp and ride these around the WMA.

Swamp Buggies for sale!

Gulf Fritillary (Agaulis vanillae).

Gulf Fritillary link

Hammock of oak, cabbage palm and saw palmetto.

Nice 6 footer lurking in a gator hole.

Phaon Crescent (Phyciodes phaon).

Phaon Crescent link

Common Buckeye (Junonia coenia).

Common Buckeye link

Southern Five-lined Skinks mating.....something you only see in the early spring.

Hope you have enjoyed the walk...and hope you will get out to the Webb and see it for yourself.

1 comment:

  1. An especially moving post for me. the country of Florida I remember from my childhood. a very good job with all photos. I loved seeing the butterflies with the names. great post! Thank you.